If you call a product freeze on investment a success, then yes, they have succeeded.
The CEO of FIAT himself has admitted AR has been consistently walloped by the Germans in sales.
It's why AR finds itself in the position it's currently in struggling to stay afloat and banking on a new partnership with Chrysler.
The FIAT group knows exactly where AR fits in place for sure.
I don't want to get into an argument on this, but Alfa have hardly had a product freeze have they?
The 159/Brera range is less than 5 years old, has had several major engine improvements along the way and been refreshed with improved specs and trim levels on a continual basis.
In the interim period they have introduced the Spider, MiTo and are about to launch Giulietta.
If the Giulia comes along in 2012 it means that the 159 will have had a 7 year life - entirely reasonable when even the Mass Market manufacturers are accustomed to a 6 to 8 year cycle. The BMW 5 series E60 was introduced in 2003 and will be replaced in 2010 - 7 years.
Everyone has been walloped by the Germans - they have created a monster with their marketing and very competent (if boring) products. That the Mondeo has been consistently outsold by the BMW 3 series is testament to the fact that they are extremely strong in the market and in the minds of the average consumer.
As for the partnership with Chrysler - I think its as much about saving the Chrysler brand as it is about strengthening Alfa Romeo. Certainly it gives AR a foothold in the USA if they want it - but Chrysler brings nothing else to the AR party other than a 3.6 V6 petrol engine and the chance to develop a common RWD platform for the 169 and share the costs.
The 169 has indeed been delayed in production, but the FIAT accountants are realistic and it is a marketplace that traditionally AR have failed in and the number of people prepared to pay £40k for a 169 instead of a "safe" BMW or Jaguar XF, is very limited. The Italian market for large home-brew saloons is very small - hence the top FIAT these days is the Chroma!
I'm not sure where you think Alfa Romeo should be pitched - they are not Maserati any more than Maserati is Ferrari. And historically they never ever were. Over the post-war years they have been best known for small to medium size, sporty cars with small engine capacities and that Italian flair we are all supposed to buy into. Giulietta (original), Giulia, Alfasud, Alfa 33/55/75/90/145/146/156 etc so they are staying true to their history. AR are positioned pretty much where they have always been - except they now have an 8c "halo car".
I have no desire to see AR become as plentiful as FIATs or Fords....or as rare and fragile as TVR.... and if they were more exotic like Masers, then I couldn't afford one anyway.